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"Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day..." - 7 new articles

  1. Odd, But Interesting, Article By David Brooks
  2. More Resources On The Arizona Shootings
  3. It Was The Day Of Wisdom, It Was The Day Of Foolishness…For Education Policy
  4. “After Gang Life”
  5. TEFL Videos
  6. The Best Resources For Teaching About The Arizona Shooting
  7. The Best Sites For Learning About Earthquakes
  8. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  9. Prior Mailing Archive

Odd, But Interesting, Article By David Brooks

I generally appreciate columns by David Brooks, the New York Times columnist. Though, when he writes about education issues, he can be way off base.

He’s just published a rather odd, but interesting, piece in The New Yorker Magazine titled Social Animal: How the new sciences of human nature can help make sense of a life.

It’s pretty meandering, but there are some intriguing parts. Here are a couple of excerpts:

One of Harold’s key skills in school was his ability to bond with teachers. We’ve spent a generation trying to reorganize schools to make them better, but the truth is that people learn from the people they love. In eleventh grade, Harold developed a crush on his history teacher, Ms. Taylor. What mattered most was not the substance of the course so much as the way she thought, the style of learning she fostered. For instance, Ms. Taylor constantly told the class how little she knew. Human beings are overconfidence machines…

Ms. Taylor was always reminding the class of how limited her grasp of any situation was. “Sorry, I get distracted easily,” she’d say, or, “Sorry, sometimes I jump to conclusions too quickly.” In this way, she communicated the distinction between mental strength (the processing power of the brain) and mental character (the mental virtues that lead to practical wisdom). She stressed the importance of collecting conflicting information before making up one’s mind, of calibrating one’s certainty level to the strength of the evidence, of enduring uncertainty for long stretches as an answer became clear, of correcting for one’s biases. As Keith E. Stanovich, a psychologist at the University of Toronto, writes in his book “What Intelligence Tests Miss” (2009), these “thinking dispositions” correlate weakly or not at all with I.Q. But, because Ms. Taylor put such emphasis on these virtues and because Harold admired her so much, he absorbed and copied her way of being.

Here a second excerpt:

Harold was gripped by the thought that, during his lifetime, the competition to succeed—to get into the right schools and land the right jobs—had grown stiffer. Society had responded by becoming more and more focussed. Yet somehow the things that didn’t lead to happiness and flourishing had been emphasized at the expense of the things that did. The gifts he was most grateful for had been passed along to him by teachers and parents inadvertently, whereas his official education was mostly forgotten or useless.

I’d be interested in hearing other reader’s reactions — do you think it’s as odd an article as it seems to me?


More Resources On The Arizona Shootings

Here are new additions to The Best Resources For Teaching About The Arizona Shooting:

The New York Times Learning Network continues to regularly update their excellent post sharing new resources and teaching ideas.

Assassins and American History also comes from The New York Times.

Mourning The Victims of The Arizona Shooting is a TIME Magazine slideshow.

Gabrielle Giffords’s injury explained is an interactive from The Guardian.

Moment of silence for Arizona shooting victims is a series of photos from The Sacramento Bee.

Messages For The Tucson Shooting Victims is a TIME Magazine slideshow.



It Was The Day Of Wisdom, It Was The Day Of Foolishness…For Education Policy

The headline of this post is obviously a play on the famous opening line in Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”

What a day for education policy!

First, the wisdom:

Two good articles on the PISA test scores were published, and I’m adding them to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery:

PISA For Our Time: A Balanced Look is another excellent post from The Shanker blog.

To foster high-achievers, think beyond the classroom by Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post (who has missed the mark in the past while writing about education issues, but does a good job here)

In other examples of wisdom, More questions for KIPP was published in the Washington Post, and I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Barnett Berry from The Center For Teaching Quality follows-up Bruce Baker’s excellent analysis of a Fordham Institute report in As we stretch the school dollar, let’s not rip out the seams of our public system with some wise questions of his own.

And, with Martin Luther King Day approaching, teacher Brian Jones writes about Dr. King and the Achievement Gap.

And, now, for the foolishness:

Michelle Rhee published her manifesto (how many of these has she come-up with) using the Orwellian language of “elevating the teaching profession” by attacking teachers. You can read a summary in The Wall Street Journal and her own column here.

A New York judge ruled that the School District can publicly release the names of teachers and their “Teacher Data Reports.” Here is what the judge said (and I kid you not):

“The UFT’s argument that the data reflected in the TDRs should not be released because the TDRs are so flawed and unreliable as to be subjective is without merit,” the judge wrote, citing legal precedent that “there is no requirement that data be reliable for it to be disclosed.”

The union is appealing the ruling (readers who want to learn about the Los Angeles Times fiasco when they publicized teacher rankings by test score might want to read The Best Posts About The LA Times Article On “Value-Added” Teacher Ratings.

Ben Austin, the key figure behind the so-called “parent trigger” law (and who was removed from the California State Board of Education this week) wrote a piece in the Huffington Post that sounded a note of desperation in attacking teachers, the Compton School District and the PTA.

Let’s hope that we continue to see and hear more wisdom than foolishness….


“After Gang Life”

“After Gang Life” is the title of a slideshow from Newsweek.

I’m adding the link to The Best Sites To Learn About Street Gangs.


TEFL Videos

TEFL Videos has over 100 short videos of actual lessons in the classroom with English Language Learners. You have to pay $95 for a year subscription to it, however.

I can’t recommend paying for them, but they also have ten you can see for free. The two that I looked at seemed pretty decent, so the site is worth a look.

Because of these ten videos, I’m adding the site to The Best Online Videos Showing ESL/EFL Teachers In The Classroom.


The Best Resources For Teaching About The Arizona Shooting

In light of yesterday’s tragic shooting in Arizona, I thought I’d bring together a short list of potentially useful sites.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Teaching About The Arizona Shooting:

There’s no question the best resources, including lesson ideas, have been brought together by the New York Times Learning Network. They have Ways to Teach About the Arizona Shootings (which they continue to update, so you should check it regularly) and Will the Arizona Shootings Change Our Political Culture?

The Wall Street Journal has an interactive titled Political Targets.

The Associated Press has an interactive on the shooting.

CNN has several related videos, as does MSNBC.

The Washington Post has an interactive.

I’m also very impressed with a blog post by Martha Infante, a Los Angeles teacher, titled Words Matter.

Assassins and American History also comes from The New York Times.

Mourning The Victims of The Arizona Shooting is a TIME Magazine slideshow.

Gabrielle Giffords’s injury explained is an interactive from The Guardian.

Moment of silence for Arizona shooting victims is a series of photos from The Sacramento Bee.

Messages For The Tucson Shooting Victims is a TIME Magazine slideshow.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the nearly 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.


The Best Sites For Learning About Earthquakes

In addition to the sites on this list, be sure to check-out A Compilation Of “The Best…” Lists About Natural Disasters, where you’ll find tons of resources about major earthquakes that have occurred around the world over the past few years.

Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Learning About Earthquakes (and are accessible to English Language Learners):

The Associated Press has an interactive on earthquakes.

Understanding Earthquakes
is an interactive from CBS News.

Shaking Latin America is an interactive from the Wall Street Journal showing the history of quakes in the region.

What Causes Earthquakes? is an interactive from MSNBC.

Measuring the Magnitude of Earthquakes is an interactive from CNN.

How Earthquakes happen is an interactive from the BBC.

Why Earthquakes Happen is an interactive from The Guardian.

Here’s an Interactive Earthquake Primer.

The BBC has a very well-done interactive titled Earthquake rescue: How survivors are found.

Top 10 Deadliest Earthquakes comes from TIME Magazine.

Shake, Rattle and Slide is an exceptional interactive from the University of Illinois Extension focused on volcanoes, earthquakes and glaciers. It provides audio support for the text, and is very accessible to English Language Learners. There are number of neat online activities on the site.

Quake Quiz is an animated guide from the City of San Francisco about how to respond to an earthquake depending on where you are and what you are doing. Each animation is followed by a short quiz.

Anatomy of an Earthquake is an interactive from Scholastic.

All About Earthquakes from Live Science has a ton of features about earthquakes.

Make a Quake with this simulator from the Discovery Channel.

I Know That has a simple feature on earthquakes.

Feedback is always welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 475 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.



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